Body-Language, Gut-Feelings, and Gossip: The Evolution of Social Intelligence

Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at 6:00pm to 7:30pm

Chicago Cultural Center, Garland Room, 1st Floor 78 E Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602

Social intelligence is widespread in the animal kingdom, from simple dominance hierarchies to complex multi-generational communities. Although humans possess a host of abilities that other animals do not, we surely have many equals in social intelligence. How did this intricate form of intelligence evolve? Does it require conscious thought in all cases, or can instinctual emotional abilities navigate the social world?

This panel discussion, comprising members of the LAS Research Group in Mind, Science, and Culture, will look at brain science, primate behavior, and human cultural evolution to unlock some of the mysteries of social intelligence. The panel will suggest answers to the questions above within an “emotional knowing” framework, which builds upon evolution and affective neuroscience.

The LAS Research Group in Mind, Science, and Culture takes a holistic approach to the mind. Its research emphasizes the continuity across mammalian brains by focusing on the integral role of emotion in social interaction and cognition.

Stephen T. Asma, PhD, is Professor of Philosophy at Columbia College Chicago, where he holds the title of Distinguished Scholar. Dr. Asma is the author of several books and has written many articles on topics that bridge the humanities and sciences, including the Philosophy of Biology and the uses of Religion.

Rami Gabriel, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Psychology at Columbia College Chicago. His research interests include consciousness, the self, and other topics at the intersection between psychology and philosophy. His first book, Why I Buy: Self, Taste, and Consumer Society in America (Intellect Press), is available now.

Glennon Curran holds a Bachelor of the Arts from Columbia College Chicago. He holds a Juris Doctor, cum laude, from The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, where he focused on Trial Advocacy. He became an associate fellow of the LAS Research Group in Mind, Science, and Culture in 2009 and is crafting an interdisciplinary exploration of social, legal, and economic norms.

Intersections is a lively series of lectures and discussions investigating and celebrating the complexity of contemporary culture and the arts. The lecture series takes place during the Fall and Spring semesters and is sponsored by the Department of Humanities, History, and Social Sciences in the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Columbia College Chicago, and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

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